Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

What if everything we have been told about Mitt Romney’s electability is wrong, Part 4

What if everything we have been told about Mitt Romney’s electability is wrong, Part 4

This is latest in a series debunking the primary justification for Mitt Romney’s nomination, electability versus Barack Obama.  (See Parts One, Two and Three)

Conn Carroll, at The Washington Examiner, used favorability ratings for a headline column, America Hates Newt, which generated a lot of attention and fed into a narrative pushed by the Romney camp that Romney matched up best against Obama.

My theory from the start has been that Romney’s early favorability polling and match up against Obama should not be taken as a decisive measurement because historically Romney has not been able to withstand the types of attacks used by Ted Kennedy (Bain) and John McCain (lack of core conviction).

Unlike other candidates who came under withering assault and scrutiny last fall, as of year end Romney largely had been untested.

As I predicted, Romney could not withstand the negative attacks, and his problems just now are showing up in polling.

Byron York points to a just released Washington Post poll which shows that Romney’s favorability ratings have plunged in January and now essentially are the same as Newt.   Via WaPo:

The number of Americans with negative views of Mitt Romney has spiked in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, compounding the former Massachusetts governor’s challenges as he tries to rally from Saturday’s big loss in South Carolina.

Among independents, Romney’s unfavorable rating now tops 50 percent — albeit by a single point — a first in Post-ABC polling back to 2006. Just two weeks ago, more independents had favorable than unfavorable views of Romney; now, it’s 2 to 1 negative.

Romney’s losses since a Post-ABC poll conducted between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are not limited to independents. The number of Democrats viewing him unfavorably is up 10 percentage points, and among his fellow Republicans, negative ratings have jumped from 18 to 32 percent.

On November 16 I wrote that we were being fed “a false narrative of Romney electability.”

Nothing has changed, except the narrative is being revealed to be overstated, in not false.

If you like Mitt Romney, vote for him.  But don’t vote for him just because you think he’s more electable versus Obama.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

Mitt Romney has issues. He is certainly no favorite of the Tea Party. I am not sure if his negatives translate to the moderates and independents we have to woo to win the general election…but they could if he lack the immune system to fight off a bout of the Alexrod flu.

The weird durability of the narrative of Romney’s “electability” is not so weird when seen as another example of well-funded and institutionally supported propaganda. It is the product of gas and money, and lots of both. It is like a giant dirigible floating across the political skies. We get used to it, see it as a fixture. But when such propaganda is punctured at last, it drops fast, like a rock.

Caught a couple minutes of Mike Gallagher’s radio show last night as I was driving home. He had Ann Coulter on. She is completely off her rocker. At the end of the segment, she said Newt as president would mean the end of America.

Newt would be worse than Obama in Ann Coulter’s mind … or what’s left of it. She has become an ongoing train wreck.

RexGrossmanSpiral | January 24, 2012 at 11:34 am

None of this means very much right now. Independents aren’t even paying attention. Believe me, America loves a fighter. Obama = Soft, Newt = Bada$$.

“If you like Mitt Romney, vote for him.”

A perfectly reasonable thing to say but also a message Romney has to fight against. The truth is, he’s not particularly likable.

I’ve been a conservative independent voter my entire life and the one thing that I’ve awlays seen that drives independents away from the GOP is religious social issues. If a candidate sticks to “guns and butter” independents will hear the message. They don’t care about baggage nearly as much as primary voters.
Smaller government overrides almost everything today in many independents minds so either Newt or Mitt will pull more than their fair share of indy’s now that Obama has been exposed as a leftist.

    janitor in reply to dorsaighost. | January 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I agree. Independents and no-party types are… independent. Libertarianistic. They don’t want government involving itself their lifestyle choices or morals.

    Good points but what will happen to Romney’s support from Independents if the economy should miraculously get better right before the election? It could happen, especially if the media hypes any “improvement in the economy” in favor of Obama. What will Romney run on if all he has is his economic message against Obama?

      janitor in reply to MadCon. | January 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Why would these independents support Romney over Gingrich? Gingrich is the guy who actually has experience balancing the government budget.

“Byron York points to a just released Washington Post poll which shows that Romney’s favorability ratings have plunged in January and now essentially are the same as Newt.”

Britt Hume, call your office.

Romney’s problem isn’t his negatives so much as that he just doesn’t have positives. No track record of public service, no military, no achievements in office, no evidence of significant philanthropy, no altruism, no advocacy.

I have a great deal of respect for this blog and Professor Jacobson. On of the quotes in the sidebar is mine:

“Bill Jacobson is the smartest, best looking and most loved law professor at all of Cornell and his blog is one of the finest out there.”

I stand by that comment – but I have to ask:

Newt has proven that he can get down in the ditch and scrap bare-knuckle with the best (or worst). He is a fantastic insurgent leader when all the chips are against him – nothing proves that more than the Congressional takeover in 1994 and these primaries. I can respect that but how do Newt supporters get past:

1. The fact that he has “progressive” Republican tendencies (http://therionorteline.com/2012/01/20/if-newt-is-the-answer-you-better-check-the-question/ and http://therionorteline.com/2012/01/23/and-he-claims-he-is-not-a-progressive/) and,

2. The fact that a great insurgent leader doesn’t always make a good holder of power. Newt flamed out once in power and the Republicans became Democrat Lite, trying to hold on to power by outspending and out-promising the Dems under Bush.

Full disclosure, I have endorsed Romney because I do believe that he is electable and would be the best compliment to a Republican controlled Congress…I do so with sadness because there isn’t a true conservative in the race.

    MadCon in reply to utahprez. | January 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    If you take away Romney’s economic message, what is his appeal to Independents? At least Gingrich can appeal to Independents and Republicans on issues they care about and that he shows genuine passion about. What does Romney offer except platitudes such as the Romney stump-speech line that Mark Steyn parodied: “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” If the economy should suddenly improve right before the election, what will be Romney’s appeal then to Independents and Republicans?

    janitor in reply to utahprez. | January 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    …how do Newt supporters get past:
    1. The fact that he has “progressive” Republican tendencies…

    If we’re comparing Gingrich to Romney, even assuming that’s true, it’s hardly a problem.

    …Newt flamed out once in power and the Republicans became Democrat Lite, trying to hold on to power by outspending and out-promising the Dems under Bush.

    Gingrich didn’t “flame out” once in power. He repeatedly was elected to office for decades, led the Contract for America and a balanced budget (hardly “outspending”), and with regard to the end of his speakership, let’s not underestimate how good a politician Bill Clinton is, or the emboldened new and naive Republican faces in office (largely thanks to Gingrich) maneuvering for power (Boenher et al.)

      utahprez in reply to janitor. | January 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Getting elected to an individual office is not the same as being Speaker of the House and then being forced out. You inadvertently made my point – he did great until he had to run the show and then eventually did flame out after the 1998 elections when Republicans lost more seats than expected.

      Romney isn’t a conservative but you have to also ignore a lot to vote for Newt.

How old is Romney? I mean, how do you get millions of dollars into an IRA account? Even at $6000 per year, he’d have to be over 15,000 years old to have over 100 million dollars in his IRA.

Either that, or he’s been playing some games to avoid tax liability.

Oh, now I see.

http://news.yahoo.com/did-romneys-ira-grow-big-023323785.html

    utahprez in reply to OCBill. | January 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    The answer is in the article…probably not games, just using the laws as they are interpreted by his tax guys.

    “Tax lawyers and accountants suggest an answer: Romney may have made use of an Internal Revenue Service loophole that allows investors to undervalue interests in investment partnerships when first putting them into an IRA. These assets can produce returns far in excess of those that could be generated from other investments made at the capped level.

    An investor could even set an initial value for a partnership interest at zero dollars, because under tax regulations an interest in a partnership represents future income, not current value, said Chris Sanchirico, co-director of the Center for Tax Law and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

    Whether Romney used this technique, which is legal, when he put partnership interests into his IRA is a question that won’t likely be answered when he discloses his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday.”

      Perfectly Legal. I agree. Just a neat and practical manipulaton of the laws as written. Common sense, really. And definitely, Perfectly Legal.

      Like that Swiss bank account he closed in 2010 just before the election campaign started up again. Perfectly Legal. And the money stashed in the Cayman Islands. Also, Perfectly Legal.

      And since it’s all Perfectly Legal, there’s no way the Democrats could make an issue out of it in the fall. Boy, thank goodness for that.

      Romney should probably use that as his campaign slogan:

      “Romney. Everything I did was Perfectly Legal.”

      I think it’s a winner.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to OCBill. | January 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        lol

        utahprez in reply to OCBill. | January 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

        When did conservative Republicans come to believe that being rich is a crime? I thought that was the Democrats’ job?

        “Bob McKenzie, a tax partner at the Chicago law firm Arnstein & Lehr, has examined Gingrich’s tax returns and found that, like another former Presidential candidate, former Democratic Senator John Edwards, Gingrich could run afoul of IRS rules on paying Medicare taxes. McKenzie pointed out that Gingrich had service income through his S Corporation, Gingrich Holdings (later renamed Gingrich Productions), and paid himself a modest salary in relation to his gross service income.

        “He paid himself a salary of $420,000 but distributed profits from the S Corp of $2.4 million to himself,” said McKenzie. “That means he avoided Medicare taxes of 2.9 percent on $2.4 million of income. John Edwards’ tax return came under the same misconduct with [his] law practice when he first sought a Presidential nomination.”

        The Gingrich campaign did not respond to a request for comment.”

        http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/Newt-Gingrich-Tax-Payments-Questioned-61496-1.html

        How about this: Vote Newt: Not Quite As Bad As Timmy Geithner But Almost.

          Not a crime. It’s Perfectly Legal.

          janitor in reply to utahprez. | January 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

          Neither Romney nor his supporters seem to have a list of achievements; only a campaign built upon criticizing others.

          He stayed married and has five kids? He had the funds to hire analysts to successfully manipulate a flow of others’ capital into his own coffers? An Olympic event? What is here of high relevance? I don’t see much.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to utahprez. | January 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

          lol x 2

    janitor in reply to OCBill. | January 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Suffice to say that Romney as president would be unable to achieve any kind of decent tax reform because he has made his fortune in large part by playing slick tax and securities games that serve to transfer wealth away from those who originally held it, not by producing anything of value or creating value.

    utahprez in reply to OCBill. | January 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Yeah, Romney has done nothing:

    Rick Santorum:

    Law degree in 1986, 9 years of various law work and “think tanks” wrapped around 16 years in elected government
    2 terms in the House (4 years)
    2 terms (12 years) in the Senate (1994 – 2006)

    Newt Gingrich:

    Academic professor for 8 years, Ph.D. in 1971
    20 years in elected office
    11 years as an author, lobbyist, lecturer and head of various “think tanks”

    Mitt Romney:

    Graduated in 1975 cum laude from with a dual MBA/JD, in the top third of that class, and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.
    24 years in business with various firms including private equity
    3 years running the Salt Lake Organizing Committee
    Governor of Massachusetts for 4 years
    Ran for senate in 1994, president in 2008
    Supported various Republican causes for the last 4 years.
    Total time in elected office – 4 years.

    If the words “I wish we had someone in office who understood business” ever came out of your mouth or you have ever condemned Obama for being an academic, a lawyer, a community “organizer” or a career politician, it would seem that to support anyone but Romney is hypocritical. There are “conservatives” who say that Romney is just like Obama and a if you are going to vote for Romney, just cut out the middle man and vote for Obama but the resume’s of the other Republican contenders look far more like Obama than does that of Mitt Romney.

    Romney has spent the most time in the private sector and the least time as a politician of any other candidate in the race, including President Obama. Romney actually used his law degree in furtherance of his business acumen, not as a primary career or a prop for a political future.

    This is not an election on social issues – it is an election about what socialist approaches to those issues are doing to our nation. Being anti-abortion or socially conservative won’t matter if we can’t get a bit in the mouth of government and pull back on the reins.

This is only anecdotal, but the only positive comments I have heard from my liberal acquaintances on any Republican were about Newt. They respect his intelligence, eloquence, fearlessness and quick wit. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to pin the dumb Republican meme on Newt.

    Dynamism in reply to Viator. | January 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Yeah. Newt’s intelligence is one of the many reasons I support him.

    I’m really tired of having inarticulate leaders.

    Jeb Bush is covertly backing Romney. Be that as it may, does no one here remember the S&L bailouts? He is not electable. Certain Florida factions might love him, but he’s the guy who got his cronies at Broward Savings to give him a 4.5 million dollar non-recourse loan based on a pie-in-the-sky deal with $50,000 down that he walked away from, after pocketing much of the money, effectively destroying the bank and laying the cost onto taxpayers.

William, from today’s Real Clear Politics (polls apparently done yesterday).

General Election: Romney vs. Obama Rasmussen Reports Obama 46, Romney 43 Obama +3

General Election: Gingrich vs. Obama Rasmussen Reports Obama 49, Gingrich 40 Obama +9

Every poll taken in the last three or more months shows Newt losing to Obama by wider margins than Romney.

And Newt certainly didn’t fare too well against the negative attacks in the 1990s. Newt has only very recently (in the last week or so) been on the receiving end of those this time around.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to jimbo3. | January 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    “Newt has only very recently (in the last week or so) been on the receiving end of those this time around.”

    lol, yikes. Ever heard of a state named Iowa? $3.5 million in ad attacks were dumped on Gingrich there. No, really. Look it up.

    As for Obama vs. X polls, they are meaningless. Neither Romney nor Gingrich nor anyone else is running against Obama yet. They are running against each other for the GOP nomination.

    It’s like me saying I know the score of the Super Bowl before it even starts. And I do! 0-0. However, once the game begins that might change….

    It’s January. The election is in November. This is no guarantee the GOP nominee will be Romney or Gingrich. Given the reputation and records for guts of the current Republican Party, it is possible they may decide to forfeit. We’ll see. But one is for certain, it is far too early to make anything like a prediction on head-to-heads with Obama.

      Ok, make it “in the last two weeks or so”. As to whether the polls are valid indicators, they tend to be better at predicting the actual results if the people being polled have formed opinions of them.

      Newt’s been around for twenty years. He’s well known.

      That’s different than the situation with Sarah Palin four years ago. She was not well known by most of the country and people hadn’t formed opinions of her.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to jimbo3. | January 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

        Poll verity is measurable only in hindsight.

        Newt Gingrich candidacy dead! Twice! The polls say so!

“If you like Mitt Romney, vote for him.  But don’t vote for him just because you think he’s more electable versus Obama.”
So, if we don’t endorse Newt…it’s because we don’t think? And the backers of Mitt must have not perform the necessary analysis and strategic premise for their choice?
You were a respectable source for political commentary back when you (objectively) positioned these candidates as ‘Not-Perfect-But-Not-Obama’.

Readers could count on Legal Insurrection litigative take on the race to spot the flaw in ALL the candidate’s character, record and ideology to make their own choices … till recently; when you start dismissing legitimate critique of Newt’s liabilities.

How did the Not-Obama voters go from broadly agreeing back in 2011 that we felt underwhelmed if not imperiled by this field of candidates…to the idea that Newt is the only candidate above reproach and exempt from further evaluation?

If you like Newt, vote for him. But don’t vote for him just because you think a backstabbing, narcissistic autocrat is more electable versus Obama. And at the very least don’t treat your fellow Not-Obama primary voters as enemies.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Aucturian. | January 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    LI: “If you like Mitt Romney, vote for him. But don’t vote for him just because you think he’s more electable versus Obama.”

    Aucturian: “So, if we don’t endorse Newt…it’s because we don’t think?”

    How in the world do you get that from what Mr. J said? All he said is that if you favor Romney because you think he’s the electable one, think again, because that attribute was false and has been thoroughly debunked. Having finally best tested the week before SC – and having failed – Romney’s unfavorables skyrocketed and are as high as anyone’s. Romney’s ‘inevitability’ and ‘electability’ were nothing more than thinkful wishing.

    We’ll send over an EMT team to untwist you from that pretzel shape such an interpretation required.

Henry Hawkins | January 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Mitt Romney, newly elected president, to the current GOP leadership: “OK, what do you want me to do?”

Newt Gingrich, newly elected president, to the current GOP leadership: “OK, here’s what we’re gonna do.”

THAT is why you pick Gingrich over Romney.

Graduated in 1975 cum laude from with a dual MBA/JD, in the top third of that class

After bombing out of Stanford, or just quitting? Legacy admission?

and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.

Paul Krugman has him way beat. Better, you think?

24 years in business with various firms including private equity 3 years running the Salt Lake Organizing Committee

As opposed to being unemployed? Actual personal achievements beyond the ability to apply inherited money and count on family connections? Unknown.

Governor of Massachusetts for 4 years Ran for senate in 1994, president in 2008

Achievements? Lost a re-election bid, and repeatedly ran for office unsuccessfully, notwithstanding vast wealth and connections at his disposal?

Supported various Republican causes for the last 4 years.

In what way? Achievements?

I am seriously reconsidering my preference for a “safer” choice like Mitt. Now that Mitt’s taxes are out, the crystal ball clears up a bit. Obama will cast Mitt as the rich guy with offshore accounts that got richer as regular people got poorer — and anyone that votes for Mitt can expect the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. I think Obama wins that argument, and Mitt seems too feeble to fight back decisively. Nominating Newt means a rehash of his 90s policies and ethics, but Newt is no shrinking violet — he is clearly the more able candidate at decisive counter-attack. He will be a more decisive and innovative POTUS than either Obama or Mitt. However, if Newt’s elected, I will still fear a repeat of his initially promising, and then imploding, performance as Speaker. I will have to trust that even he will see the Office as being much bigger than himself.

Henry Hawkins | January 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Newt Gingrich = Honey Badger
Mitt Romney = Eeyore

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend